CHICAGO — The Minnesota Twins will try to win five straight games to start a season for the first time since 1968 when they meet the White Sox in Chicago on Saturday afternoon.
Right-hander Phil Hughes kept the ball rolling for Minnesota with six sharp innings in a 3-1 win on Friday night in the series opener. Hughes beat Chicago in his first start since June 2, 2016, and his first appearance since June 9. It was a solid first step as he comes back from both a fractured femur and surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome that required removal of a portion of his first rib.
In Game 2 of the series, the ball goes to 23-year-old Adalberto Mejia, who will make his first start and second appearance in the majors. The left-hander from the Dominican Republic was acquired from San Francisco in exchange for All-Star infielder Eduardo Nunez in July 2016, then was assigned to Triple-A Rochester.
Mejia made his major-league debut on August 20, 2016, at Kansas City, allowing two runs and five hits in 2 1/3 innings of relief, then the 6-foot-3 righty was optioned back to Rochester.
But Mejia was predicted to be a contender for the Twins’ 2017 rotation. He is in the No. 5 slot after making six appearances — one start — in spring training where he was 1-0 with a 1.88 ERA, four walks and 14 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings.
“He’s got a three-pitch mix. He’s got a big, durable body, so we just think he profiles well,” Twins vice president and assistant general manager Rob Antony told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “He’s pretty much what we were looking for.”
Hughes said he’s passing the winning-streak baton to Mejia.
“It feels good to be the next guy up and do the job,” Hughes said after Friday’s win. “Hopefully Mejia can do the same tomorrow.
“That will be exciting for him. Hopefully he’ll control his nerves and do a good job for us.”
The White Sox (1-2) will counter with right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, who will make his 2017 debut
Gonzalez was 5-8 with a 3.73 ERA in 24 games (23 starts) in 2016 and pitched for Team Mexico in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, making one start and appearing in three games.
Gonzalez will make his fifth career start versus Minnesota. He is 1-2 with a 4.56 ERA versus the Twins.